Matt and Mason (center) with English teacher Ben Walters (left), Head of Academy Jeff Carretto (right) and Spanish teacher Israel Melendez (back). Walters and Melendez taught both Matt and Mason.

The academic and social pressures of high school can overwhelm any student. For ninth grader Mason, those pressures compounded when he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Surgery was a success, but left Mason having to re-learn some speech and motor skills. His confidence was lost and school became a major source of anxiety. Just talking about it was often stressful enough to bring him to tears.

Mason’s step dad, Matt, understood what he was going through since he struggled with low self-esteem and social anxiety at that age. Matt came to the Villa’s Brook Road Academy in tenth grade, and remembered that as his turning point.

“Brook Road Academy is definitely one of a kind,” Matt said. “The teachers never gave up on me. They had confidence in me when I didn’t have confidence in myself.”

Matt made honor roll for the first time in his life when he came to Brook Road Academy. He recalled his teachers instilling in him the value of respect, encouraging independent thought, and preparing him for the outside world. To this day he stays in touch with his Brook Road Academy friends. Matt thought it would be a perfect fit for Mason, and when Mason took the tour, he agreed.

Brook Road Academy became a turning point for Mason just as it did for Matt. Now he looks forward to school and has the confidence to speak up in class. He even participated in the school’s winter basketball league.

“The vibe is like home. I feel very at ease here,” said Mason.

“The school has evolved with the times,” said Matt. “But one thing that hasn’t changed is that here, you can be you.”

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply